Tax Carnival Ecstasy – November 22, 2011


Welcome to the November 22, 2011 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this issue we have 19 great tax and finance related articles from some very good blogs. Emily Everet starts off the carnival with an explanation of How Your Company Benefits Are Taxed. SteveR has information on Home Energy Tax Credits that you can receive from the purchase of new appliances. We have an explanation of How To Claim Disability Living Allowance from Jay Speaks. And finally, Mark Roberts takes a look at the Standard Deduction for 2011. Hope you enjoy the articles, bookmark, share, tweet, like on Facebook and come back again.

Adriana Roux presents Occupy Movement Reclaims Foreclosed Homes in Oakland posted at Bankruptcy Attorney NJ RSS Feed, saying, “Occupy Wall Street has swept the globe gaining strength in various major cities across the world. In particular, Occupy has ignited strongly on the West Coast where Oakland protestors are expanding their occupancy to foreclosed homes in the northern part of California.”



Emily Everet presents How Your Company Benefits Are Taxed posted at P11d, saying, “If you receive benefits or gifts from your company they will usually need to be taxed. This post outlines what you need to know and how much you will be taxed.”

SteveR presents Home Energy Tax Credits: Save Money With Energy Efficient Appliances posted at 2011 Tax, saying, “Homeowners know that energy bills comprise a hefty chunk of monthly bills, and have recently been getting even higher.”


Jay Speaks presents How To Claim Disability Living Allowance posted at Disability Living Allowance, saying, “This weeks post outlines how to claim disability living allowance, either online or by telephone.”

SteveR presents Top Ten Most Overlooked Tax Deductions posted at 2009 Taxes, saying, “Each year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports the most common tax deductions taxpayers forget about when submitting their income tax return.”


Mark Roberts presents Explaining the Standard Deduction posted at Tax Brackets, saying, “Your standard deduction reduces the amount of your income that is taxed. This blog post explains the standard deduction, how much it is and when you can’t claim.”


Jason P. presents Money 101: What is Compound Interest? posted at One Money Design, saying, “I’m always amazed to read a good overview of how compound interest works. Hopefully, some parents will use this as a resource to teach their children this wonderful financial principle.”

SteveR presents Using Your 401k to Start a Business posted at 2009 Tax, saying, “Starting your own business allows you flexibility and control of your financial future.”

SteveR presents When is Borrowing from Your 401k a Good Idea? posted at 2009 Taxes, saying, “While many financial experts claim you should avoid borrowing from your 401k as much as possible, it may be your only financial life line in certain situations.”

Martha Stewart presents 15 Incredible Businessmen Who Refused to Retire posted at, saying, “For many who reach the top echelons of business, retirement is a time to enjoy the spoils of a life well lived and years of hard work and perseverance. Others, however, take a different approach.”


Linda Rodriguez presents Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act posted at Credit Cards for Fair Credit, saying, “You may now be wondering exactly what your rights are under this act. Your information is being sold, and you should know exactly what you can do to prevent damage to your credit and future as well as fix any current credit problems.”

Maria Clark presents Credit Card Debt or Emotional Roller Coaster? posted at Credit Cards for Bad Credit Resource, saying, “Most of the information you will find online about credit card debt covers the financial struggles you will face. However, there are very few resources to help those with credit card debt handle the situation emotionally.”

Linda Rodriguez presents What is the difference between fair credit and poor credit? posted at Credit Cards for Fair Credit, saying, “The difference between fair and poor credit is significant, but is frequently determined by each individual lender.”

Dorothy presents Credit Card Clauses to Avoid posted at Secured Credit Cards, saying, “When you are looking for a credit card, it can be easy to try and find the offer with the lowest interest rate, no annual fees, and the best rewards. However, there is much more to credit cards than the benefits you see initially.”

Gemma Flannery presents 3 Things You Should Know About Emergency Tax Codes posted at Tax Codes, saying, “You may be put on an emergency tax code if your employer doesn’t know which tax code to place you on. This blog posts highlight 3 things you should know about the emergency tax code.”


SteveR presents Will Obamas New Lifeline Catch Any Fish? posted at FastSwings, saying, “We all know that many homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years and many more are unable to afford their mortgage payments.”

Deborah Brown presents 3 Clauses to Be Aware of in Personal Loans posted at First Credit Card, saying, “Most banks use early repayment penalties in order to discourage borrowers from paying off their debts early. This is because the longer a borrower takes to pay off their debt, the more money they will have to pay the bank in interest.”

SteveR presents Reasons to Use a Demo Account posted at Forex Trading System Central, saying, “When it comes to trading Forex it is important that you have significant experience and practice, which can best be attained through using a demo account.”

Amy Gardner presents 3 Real-Life Stories of People Crushed By Payday Loan Debt posted at Disaster Strikes, saying, “There are thousands of stories online about people who have struggled with payday lending. Some accounts are worse than others, but their personal experiences always seem to have similar results; they all end up in a worse position than they were before their payday loan.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


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Save on Tax Preparation: File Your Own Taxes


Tax preparation can be costly so save money and try doing your taxes yourself. Tax preparation can cause you hundreds especially if you opt for an expedited refund. Filing your taxes yourself is easy with the help of the Internet. Several tax preparers offer online tax services in which you can file your taxes for very little if anything at all. Depending on your income, you may even qualify to file your federal taxes for free.

Where is my W-2?

By the end of each January, employers must mail your W-2 wage information to you if you are a wage earner. If you are self employed, you will not have a W-2 form. Other tax forms, such as 1099s, you may receive for other income such as investments, retirement, or contract work. If you do not receive your W-2, contact your employer or the IRS. The IRS can send you a Form 4852 with your income information on it to complete your tax returns.

How to Begin Your Tax Returns

Begin filing your tax returns by deciding whether you are going to complete paper forms or file electronically using an online tax preparer such as TurboTax, TaxAct, H &R Block or IRS FreeFile.

Gather all income forms such as W-2s and 1099s. If you are married and filing together, you will also need your spouse’s W-2 and 1099 forms. To begin filing your tax returns, you will need basic information such as your name, address, phone numbers and social security number. You must decide how you are filing your taxes such as single, married filing separately, married filing jointly, or head of household. Each filing status has requirements and if you are using an online tax preparer it may help you decide which filing status fits you the best.

Standard Deduction vs. Itemize Deductions

After entering your income information, which will come directly off of your W-2 and 1099, you must decide on whether you will accept a standard deduction or itemize your deductions. Your standard deduction is an allowable deduction from your taxable wages that the IRS allows conditional on your taxation filing status. Dependent on your actual expenses and allowable tax credits, a standard deduction can possibly be beneficial. To determine which deduction you prefer to file, review your allowable deductions and tax credits. Charitable donations, legal fees, prior taxes paid, tax preparation fees, student loan interest paid, educational expenses, job-related expenses not reimbursed, childcare costs, as well as volunteer time are all allowable deductions and tax credits that can reduce your taxable income.

If these deductions and tax credits are more that the standard deduction the IRS allows, it is more advantageous for you to itemize. But, be careful because those that itemize deductions are more probable to be audited from the government. Ensure you have receipts for all expenses you deduct. If you are audited and do not have receipts for expenses you claimed, the IRS can adjust your return which could cost you thousands of dollars in taxes.

IRS: Publication 501: Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

IRS: Eight Facts About Filing Status

Britney Baker looks at auto insurance comparison quotes at Auto Insurance Comparison .org.

Tax Tricks for Homeowners


Tax Tips & Tricks for Homeowners

Although gaining the status of homeowner can be a monumental moment in your life, the responsibility and excitement can often overshadow one of the most appealing aspects of owning your home: tax deductions and savings! In fact, every bit of your property taxes and mortgage interest can be itemized on your taxes and result in impressive savings.

Savings that accompany homeowner-ship can pave the way for allowing you to afford a home they you may not otherwise be able to even consider. In addition to property taxes stemming from mortgage interest and property taxes, you can also deduct some of your closing costs. Profits that are gained after a home is sold are tax deductible, highlighting yet another benefit you can experience through the purchase of a home. Saving money and taking advantage of being a homeowner is easy with these simple tax tips and tricks:

You Got to Itemize

While you may ultimately discover that accepting the standard deduction provides you with the greatest tax benefit, it is worth the effort and time to insure that itemizing does not provide greater savings. Itemizing can give you a way to compare what you could receive with the standard deduction you may have always taken when filing taxes in the past. Whether you are using tax software or completing your taxes by hand, take the time to itemize and insure you will receive the highest benefits possible accompanying your status as a homeowner.

Home Office Deductions

It can be an obvious fact that deducting a home office on your taxes can provide savings, but it is important to weigh the benefit of annual home office deductions with capital gains taxes. Capital gains taxes are only exempt for residences, making the deduction of a home office a problem if you hope to receive such exemptions if you sell your home in the future. Seeking the help of a tax professional can be a great way you can discover whether the deductions that come with a home office are worth taking in contrast with capital gains exemptions.

Foreclosures, Short Sales and Loan Modifications

One of the risks of buying a home is the high levels of foreclosures and other struggles homeowners can run into. But while losing one’s home is a risk we take when purchasing property, the current housing outlook gives us some protection if you do ever have to endure such hardships. Although a mortgage may be erased if foreclosures, short sales or modifications occur, the mortgage amount will still be taxed as a Cancellation of Debt Income, according to the IRS. Losing a home to foreclosure can be trying enough, but after 2012, exemption from paying taxes on lost property or modified loans will come to an end. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act is only good until 2012, making it much less risky for you to purchase a home before the act expires.

Is Refinancing for You?

Refinancing has been a hot topic as of late. In fact, you may have friends and family rushing to refinance their home in order to take advantage of historically low interest rates. While refinancing can be a good option, it can result in some lost tax savings that could have outweighed the interest rate savings you expected. A lower interest rate that results from refinancing your home can actually result in lower tax savings. The bottom line: paying lower interest as a result of refinancing your home will result in less tax savings.

Closing Costs

With the excitement of home ownership and purchasing property, it can be easy for you to overlook the closing costs that can be deducted from taxes, just as mortgage interest and property taxes can. Whether you paid the closing costs for the home you bought or plan on purchasing or the seller paid them, closing costs are tax deductible. How much you paid, or the seller paid, for closing, can be found on your HUD-1 form or by calling your realtor.

Anastacio Mindiola is an accomplished attorney and business owner. His company helps home and business owners protest property taxes in Houston and the surrounding counties. For more information on how you can lower your property taxes visit

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